ORBA Names New Directors

Adam Pechin

Adam Pechin

Ostrow Reisin Berk & Abrams Ltd. (FY17 net revenue of $29.4 million) of Chicago, announced that Adam Pechin and Thomas Vance, have been promoted to directors of the firm, effective July 1.

“We are excited to have Adam and Tom join our growing group of young, dynamic Directors,” says Mark Thomson, managing director of ORBA. “Their expertise and forward-looking focus will help ORBA continue to grow and manage the many industry challenges we face in the future.”

Thomas Vance

Thomas Vance

Pechin has been with ORBA since 2008 and is a member of the firm’s wealth management group. He primarily works with individuals, partnerships and closely-held corporations on tax and compliance and provides services in multiple industries.

Vance has more than 10 years of law expertise and is a member of ORBA’s tax department. He has experience with mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs and recapitalizations for corporations, limited liability companies and other flow-through entities.

Squire & Company Acquires Utah Firm

Squire & Company PC (FY17 net revenue of $18.8 million) of Orem, Utah has acquired Pinnock Robbins Posey & Richins PC of Salt Lake City, effective July 1.

Squire and PRPR, together will offer new expertise to both companies’ client rosters, enabling the combined company to offer new and existing clients across several sectors a broadened suite of accounting and advisory services.

“With such a strong cultural fit between our two organizations, we believe we will be better together,” says Jonyce Bullock, MP at Squire. “Because we share important characteristics like a 100% commitment to quality and partnership with our clients, we believe there is deep synergy in our vision for the future.”

“PRPR’s long tradition of excellent client service and of providing employees opportunities for growth will be enhanced by combining the resources of these two great firms,” says Jim Beaudoin, MP, PRPR. “We look forward to bringing added services to our clients and to meeting the many opportunities of Utah’s dynamic and growing marketplace.”

The consolidated company will be known as Squire and will maintain its offices in both Orem and Salt Lake City. Squire offers more than tax and audit services; the company also provides outsourced services, accounting/ERP systems implementation, buy/sell transaction support, wealth management assistance and more. Industries served by both companies include construction, manufacturing/distribution, direct sales, government, tax-exempt organizations, technology/life sciences and professional services, among others.

Peterson Sullivan Launches Three New Consulting Practices

Peterson Sullivan (FY17 net revenue of $31.9 million) of Seattle, announced the launch of three new consulting practices: IT risk services, led by Cody Page; managed accounting services, led by Nick Norton; and strategic business consulting services, led by Andrew Mitchell.

“I am so pleased to announce the launch of these three new practices,” says Chris Russell, MP for Peterson Sullivan. “The professional accounting industry is experiencing rapid change and major disruption. These services further diversify our consulting offerings outside of traditional compliance. Our clients’ needs drove our professionals to build these specific practices and we are proud to have a culture of flexibility and adaptability in innovating new services to meet their evolving requirements.”
The IT risk services team will lead with the mindset of it’s not if, but when, a breach occurs.

Cybersecurity is a service that transcends industry lines,” says Page, practice lead and former COO. “We focus on preventative measures organizations in every industry can take to help mitigate their risk by providing SOC reports and cybersecurity controls assessments, and we provide general consulting on what to do when a data breach occurs.” Prior to joining the firm as COO, Page worked for Point B, where he led engagement teams in business process outsourcing, cloud technology, and security.

Although an easily overlooked part of the day-to-day functions, managed accounting services (MAS) practice lead Norton believes that by using technology, outsourced bookkeeping services can save a company time and money. “MAS’ streamlined accounting processes modernize the traditional role of bookkeepers, accountants and CFOs,” says Norton. “By providing a suite of services to best meet a company’s needs, we are allowing organizations to focus on what they do best.”

For strategic business consulting services (SBCS) practice lead Mitchell, the launch of this new service line is a long time coming. “I feel so passionately about being able to offer these services for companies because they provide valuable information for sustainable growth,” he said. “Via our tools, reports and processes, business owners are proactively leveraging this data to make impactful changes in their companies. It’s so rewarding to be able to outline the exact steps they need to take to make their company more efficient and successful.”

SBCS will offer a variety of services, including mergers and acquisitions, strategic planning, benchmarking, targeted consulting, financial due diligence and financial modeling and analysis. “The success we have already seen from the launch of these services has surpassed our expectations and has also emphasized how great a need there was for them,” says Russell. “I look forward to the continued expansion of the firm with these and other new service lines. 2018 has been a very exciting year so far.”

IPA Spotlight On … Sheila Enriquez

Sheila Enriquez

Sheila Enriquez

Name: Sheila Enriquez

Title: Managing Shareholder-Elect

Firm: Houston-based Briggs & Veselka Co. (FY17 net revenue of $36.2 million)

Accomplishments:

  • Elected managing shareholder of Houston’s largest independent CPA firm and will assume the role from John Flatowicz on July 1.
  • Leads the firm’s forensic, valuation and litigation support services, and its consulting practices.
  • Named one of the “Women Who Mean Business 2017: Outstanding Leaders in Banking and Finance” by the Houston Business Journal. 
  • Serves on AICPA Governing Council and the Texas Society of CPAs Board of Directors.

The AICPA says that in 2016, only 2% of CPA partners were Asian/Pacific Islander. Also, according to IPA’s data from 2017, of all IPA 100 firms, no Asian/Pacific Islander was MP and only one held the top job outside the Big 4. Do you feel any special responsibility, as a first-generation American, to increase diversity within the profession?

In our firm, over 20% of shareholders are of Asian descent and we have professionals who speak 17 different languages. I am a first-generation immigrant, who came to the U.S. on a scholarship to pursue a college education, and have now lived in Houston for over a decade. According to census data, it is the most diverse city in America. The 2017 AICPA trends report says the pipeline of CPAs in 2016 reflect a greater percentage of non-whites, with 37% graduates and 41% enrollees in undergraduate programs. This increasing pipeline is encouraging, and I am very passionate about promoting the CPA profession and increasing its visibility to students below college. I believe this will naturally increase the diversity within the profession.

You said you’d like Briggs & Veselka to become a top 50 firm in the nation. How do you plan to achieve this goal, through acquisitions, organic growth or both?

The short answer is “all of the above.” We are committed to remaining a legacy firm, which means we will remain independent. We understand that this requires investment in people, processes and technology, which we are ready, willing and able to do. Our organic growth will be focused in strengthening our core services of tax and audit, while thoughtfully expanding into related advisory services to provide better value to our clients and opportunities for our staff. Acquisitions are also part of our growth strategy, and we will continue to look for the right fit for acquisitions in new or expanded niche services and/or geographic markets in the region.

How do you envision the audit of the future at your firm?

One thing my firm is good at is embracing innovation. In fact, we have a firm-wide Technology and Innovation Committee made up of partners, managers and administrative staff that keeps a pulse on new technology and innovation, and makes recommendations and implements new solutions. In audit, we are transforming how we deliver our services, supported by the adoption of new software to better access client data, and building data analytics into our work programs. The buzzwords in the profession are AI, robotics and RPA, and we are actively exploring the best ways to implement these to make our audits more efficient and effective, and allow our audit staff to focus on more value-added activities for our clients.

Which areas of advisory services at the firm are ripe for expansion?

We’re basically integrating consulting in all aspects of our traditional core services, such as SALT, international tax and tax provision services in our tax group, and internal audit, outsourced accounting, pre-audit and technical implementation of new accounting standards consulting in our audit group. We are also building specific consulting niches, such as forensics, valuation, litigation support, transaction advisory services and IT consulting. IT consulting is an area of growth given the cybersecurity risks our clients are facing, and the opportunities for process improvement. While the skills to deliver these advisory services emanate from our core competencies, we believe that pivoting these skills to the new economy are vital to creating value and relevancy with our clients. At the same time, we are creating new opportunities for our people to expand their scope and career trajectories.

Final thoughts?

I’m honored to assume the leadership of a firm that has created such a market presence in Texas, and I am committed to being a good steward to continue its success. Our firm has grown throughout our 45-year history, thanks to the leadership of Johnny Veselka, our founding shareholder, who led the firm in its first 37 years, and followed by John Flatowicz, who grew the firm three-fold during his tenure. Both of them epitomize our core values of excellence, dedication and compassion. I have been blessed to have John as a mentor during my 11+ years at the firm, and I’m blessed that he will help guide and shape our future.

BeachFleischman Admits Ulibarri, Barraza and Feldhausen to Shareholder

Christine Ulibarri

Christine Ulibarri

Tucson, Ariz.-based BeachFleischman PC (FY17 net revenue of $26.9 million) announced that Christine Ulibarri, Fernando Barraza and Evan Feldhausen have been admitted as shareholders. The three shareholder additions serve to support strategic growth by deepening the firm’s specialized tax and industry practices. The firm now has 21 shareholders and over 160 professional client service and administrative staff.

“All of these individuals have consistently demonstrated leadership capabilities while making significant contributions toward the growth of the firm, client service, and staff training. We are excited about the critical role they will play in helping us achieve our long-term goals,” says Marc Fleischman, CEO of BeachFleischman PC.

Fernando Barraza

Fernando Barraza

Ulibarri is a tax shareholder and a member of the firm’s construction segment team. During her numerous years of experience in public accounting, she has provided a wide range of tax compliance, planning, consulting and research services to her clients. She directs her attention at developing relationships with clients and other integral professionals in the real estate, construction and service related industries. She advises owners of private and closely-held businesses on tax planning and compliance, business and tax strategies, and individual tax services. Her effective problem solving, leadership, and communication skills strengthen her ability to perform, review, and supervise client engagements.

Evan Feldhausen

Evan Feldhausen

Barraza is a tax shareholder and a member of the firm’s international, and estates and trusts segment teams. He is a dynamic and proficient business consultant with more 10 years of public accounting experience, delivering results across multiple industries. He leads projects involving domestic and international business structure set-up, cross-border structuring, foreign expansion planning, tax treaty analysis, foreign tax credit planning, as well as IC-DISC entity structuring, compliance and planning. He is adept at aligning operational business, tax, cash flow, and technology strategies with innovation and cost efficiency

Feldhausen is a tax shareholder and a member of the firm’s construction, and estates and trusts segment teams. He has 10 years of public accounting experience managing many of the firm’s tax engagements, including partnership and limited liability companies, multi-state and tax-exempt organizations. He has an aptitude for developing relationships with individuals and groups from many different backgrounds.

Nakicevic Joins GBQ as Tax Director

Azra Nakicevic

Columbus, Ohio-based GBQ Partners (FY17 net revenue of $31.4 million) announced that Azra Nakicevic has joined the firm as a director in the firm’s tax practice. She is based out of GBQ’s Columbus office.

Nakicevic has more than 17 years of Big 4 experience in managing large and diverse teams to deliver tax planning and compliance to clients. She is a subject matter expert in pass through-entities (partnerships and S corporations) and individual taxation with a strong focus in the real estate industry. Additionally, she has provided an active consulting role to clients in choice of entity, complex income and loss allocations, troubled debt restructuring, like-kind exchanges, tax credits, involuntary conversions and structuring related to merger and acquisitions of businesses.

“We welcome Azra as a new tax director,” says Tim Schlotterer, director of tax services. “Her breadth of experience will provide valuable advice to our clients operating in an environment of uncertainty and challenges brought about by the changing tax laws. Azra’s expertise will complement and expand the thought leadership within the GBQ tax department and we are delighted to have her join our team.”

BST & Co. Acquires Northeast HR for Hire

BST & Co. CPAs LLP (FY17 net revenue of $16 million) of Albany, N.Y., announced the acquisition of the human resources and management consulting company Northeast HR for Hire of Albany, N.Y. The firm will continue to serve clients throughout the Capital Region and nationwide operating under the BST banner, effective immediately.

The acquisition enhances and complements BST’s service offerings of tax planning, financial consulting and business valuation with expertise in human resources operations.

The new division of BST will be led by Jack McGaughnea who founded Northeast HR for Hire in 2001 and has more than 34 years of experience as a human resources professional.

“We are pleased to welcome Jack to BST as we expand our services to meet a growing need for expertise in the field of human resources,” says Ron Guzior, MP of BST & Co. “This latest acquisition is part of our ongoing strategic plan to take advantage of the increasing trend among businesses to seek solutions to their day to day challenges through outsourcing to trusted professionals. Jack has built an outstanding operation that meets a demand critical to the success of companies both small and large, public and private.”

Under the BST banner, Northeast HR for Hire will continue to offer a full-range of human resources services individually designed to meet each client’s needs, including: employee and labor relations; recruitment; orientation and training programs; compensation and benefit design; federal and state employment regulation compliance; discipline and termination procedures; safety programs and compliance; and worker’s compensation law and claims management, amongst others.

“For nearly two decades, Northeast HR for Hire has provided superior and innovative human resources management services to hundreds of companies,” says McGaughnea. “We offer businesses the opportunity to have a team of expert human resources professionals at their disposal, without the overhead costs. I have long respected the team at BST and am excited to join them and to help expand their capabilities and operations.”

VonLehman Announces New Vice President of M&A Advisory Services

Ely Friedman

Ely Friedman

Fort Wright, Ky.-based VonLehman & Company Inc. (FY17 net revenue of $21.9 million) announced Ely Friedman as vice president of the firm’s mergers & acquisitions (M&A) advisory services group. Friedman joins VonLehman with nearly a decade of experience dealing with the sale and acquisition of private businesses. As Vice President of the firm’s M&A advisory group, he will be directly responsible for consultation and advisory services relating to founder-owned private businesses.

“Ely’s experience working exclusively with founder-owned private businesses is a perfect complement to our team’s dynamic,” says Keith Carlson, director of VonLehman’s M&A advisory services group. “There is a tremendous need for this type of advisory service in the Tri-State area. Our region is a hotbed for founder-owned and operated private businesses who need professional assistance in handling critical sales and acquisitions. Needless to say, we are very excited about the expertise Ely brings to our group.”

With the continued growth of the mergers and acquisitions market, VonLehman launched the M&A Advisory Services group over one year ago. Success in the group’s first year resulted in the need for additional resources. With the addition of Friedman, the group is now comprised of five individuals. VonLehman’s M&A Group offers expertise in mergers and acquisitions (buying or selling), succession planning, financial restructuring, valuation, due diligence, and strategic consulting.

“There are so many things that can go wrong when a business owner attempts to handle sales and acquisition transactions on their own,” says Friedman. “I have a passion for working with business owners to guide them through this process so they are able to make well-informed decisions. I am thrilled to be working with Keith Carlson, one of the best in our industry, and I’m excited to be part of the growth of our M&A Group at VonLehman.”

Behymer Named Director at Brady Ware

Melessa Behymer

Melessa Behymer

Dayton, Ohio-based Brady Ware & Company (FY16 net revenue of $17.4 million) announced that Melessa Behymer has been promoted to director within the firm.

Behymer works on a variety of accounting, auditing and consulting engagements. She works closely with nonprofit organizations, health care providers, franchisees, startup companies and a variety of other types of businesses. She has an extensive background in governmental auditing and oversees several audits of nonprofit organizations that are recipients of federal funding. In addition to auditing, Behymer specializes in nonprofit taxes and is an active member of Brady Ware’s learning culture committee.

“It is my great pleasure to announce that Missy Behymer has transitioned into the role as Director,” says Brian Carr, co-CEO and director of Brady Ware. “She joined our team as a Staff Accountant, and, through hard work and perseverance, now embraces a leadership role in our firm’s health care niche. Her passion and industry knowledge in both the health care and nonprofit sectors make her essential in providing excellent client service and increasing market presence in these important segments.”

“I look forward to my new role as Director for Brady Ware. The firm has empowered me from day one as a Staff Accountant and continues to support me as I advance into this role. I will be providing growth focus for the firm in the Healthcare niche and I am eager to expand the practice,” says Behymer.

Behymer joined the firm in 2005. Prior to embarking on her career in accounting, she spent 12 years in consumer finance.

Sobel & Co. Valuation Practice and EAC Valuations Merge

EAC Valuations PA of Paoli, Pa., has joined Sobel & Co. (FY16 net revenue of $20.2 million) of Livingston, N.J., in their valuation practice to create Sobel Valuations LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sobel & Co.

“From the first time Frank Merenda, President and CEO of EAC Valuations, met with the Sobel & Co. valuation team, we quickly recognized the power of combining our two groups,” says Alan Sobel, managing member of Sobel & Co. “By leveraging both firms’ years of experience serving the valuation and appraisals niche market, we are positioned to effectively address the needs of the corporate business community.”

The EAC brand will continue to go to market independently, as well as together, under Sobel Valuations. This flexibility enables them to assemble a team of professionals across a wide range of disciplines. The Sobel & Co. Valuation Practice will benefit from Merenda’s adherence to EAC’s long standing mission, his deep commitment to its high standards and his well-regarded valuation and appraisal expertise gained throughout his years in the top leadership role at EAC.

“I am glad that I have the opportunity to draw on my experiences conducting a wide variety of valuations, such as Fair Value (both ASC and IFRS), Appraisals of Intangible Assets, Deferred Compensation, and Purchase Price Allocations for Financial Reporting, and Fair Market Value Appraisals for Property Tax, Insurance, Corporate Planning, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Gift/Estate Appraisal. EAC has almost 50 years as a leader in the valuation community completing more than 14,000 appraisals for clients ranging from multi-billion dollar companies to privately-held manufacturing and service companies. Joining our depth of experience with Sobel & Co.’s 60+ year legacy is a positive step for both organizations, and most importantly, for the clients we serve,” says Merenda.

The move will reinforce existing services and further expand the menu of Sobel & Co.’s valuation capabilities, which include business valuations, financial reporting valuations, strategic advisory services, commercial damages, corporate and partnership disputes, matrimonial dissolutions, estate and gift valuations, shareholder and partner buy-outs, mergers & acquisitions and a diversity of other valuation services.